Columbus fire chief offers tips for safe space heater usage

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — As central Ohio deals with frigid temperatures, the Columbus Fire Department is reminding people about space heater safety.

It’s expected more people will be using them while the colder weather is in town.

Here are some important safety tips from Battalion Chief Steve Martin:

  • Keep the space heater at least three feet away from anything flammable.
  • Plug them directly into the walls, not into extension cords or power strips.
  • Make sure the cords are in good shape.
  • Don’t put anything on top of the cords.
  • Double or even triple check with kerosene space heaters to make sure you’re using the proper fuel.

In March 2019 there was a fire in an apartment building along Broad Street. According to firefighters, it was caused by a space heater plugged into a thin extension cord that was underneath clothing next to a bed. 

“It’s kind of scary that electrical issues and whatnot can happen,” said Aaron Clouse. 

Clouse moved into that apartment complex after the fire. He lives in a different tower of the complex and has two space heaters. 

“Mine are far enough away from the wall so it’s not too concerning,” he said. “I know a lot of them are pretty dangerous so I just unplug it if I leave the house and only turn it on when I need to.”

The fire department hopes everyone with space heaters uses them safely. Martin said if a space heater doesn’t automatically turn off when it gets knocked over, it’s time to get a new one.

“Something that’s 20 years old probably is time to be replaced. You can test the safety of these things by turning it on and then tip it over, and make sure it shuts off if it gets tipped over,” he said. “If it doesn’t, it probably needs to be replaced with one that’s got a safety switch in case they get knocked over.” 

Martin also wants to remind people not to use ovens or other cooking appliances to heat their homes or apartments. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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